Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Judging Others - A View from Scripture

Question:  What is considered the chief virtue of our society today?
Answer:  Like candidate = "tolerance"
Definition:  "sympathy and indulgence for beliefs or practises differing from or conflicting with one's own".   (the act of allowing something)

The irony = "tolerance is a virtue and we'll not tolerate those who disagree".    Example:  college campuses, Hollywood entertainment, Presidential Campaigns!

Journey of the past 50 years (over-simplified) -
Pre-modern - "these are the rules.  By these rules we judge" - right/wrong, acceptable/unacceptable)

Modern - "are these the rules?  can we judge?" - (beyond question and examination --> RAW SKEPTICISM)

Post-Modern - "there are no rules.  We cannot judge!"  (which collapses under its own weight, self-defeating statement.  Therefore, tolerance is the virtue, and we won't tolerate you having no tolerance)

So, question = 1) is there right & wrong?  (moral concerns, human behavior)
                       2)  how do we determine right or wrong?  (how to know, measure)
                       3)  are we allowed to say so?? - Am I allowed to make a judgment call concerning human behavior?

JUDGING OTHERS - A View From Scripture.

Scripture says:  on one hand, "don't judge" - Matt. 7:1-2, Rom. 14:4 - Rom. 14:13
                        On the other hand, "do judge" - Matt. 7:6
                                                                        Matt. 7:15
                                                                        Titus 3:10
                                                                        1 Cor. 5:12-13

So, On one hand - James 4:12, however, on the other hand, Lev. 19:15

Question:  Is Scripture contradicting itself?  or, do we need a clearer understanding?

#1.  The Greek work for 1 'to judge' has broad application.
       In addition to translated to judge,
also translated - to think, to examine, to investigate, to weigh, to form an opinion, to discern between, to decide, to determine, to try, to conclude, to pronounce judgment, to pass sentence, to vindicate, to condemn

Point being:  can't come to a reasonable stance based on 1 verse (like Matt. 7:1)

#2.  What's being addressed in Matt. 7:1 is:
       A)  A hyper-critical spirit which sees minute faults in others while ignoring (major) faults of own.
and  B)  is assessing not just actions (hands) but motive. (heart)

#3.  Making judgments of other people is essential to responsible living.
Examples:  A)  parental decisions (regarding who teenage daughter dates)
                 B)  everyday life choices   Prov. 4:14, 9:8, 14:7
                C)  within Christian faith, the church - Rev. 2:14-16, 20 (you're tolerant)

#4.  (Mostly) we're called to judge actions, not people.
can't always know the heart, motive, intent, but can judge actions, behavior, lifestyle.

(PROBLEM!!  Not easy to separate action and actor/behavior and behavee)

#5.  Jesus calls us to make good judgments.  John 7:24 - Amplified version:  "be honest in your judgment and do not decide at a glance --- superficially and by appearances; but judge fairly and righteously"

2 things necessary to getting it right:

#1.  Proper Scale/Measure - ie:  the Word of God/ the Revelation of God's will/desire/intent - 2 Tim. 3:16-17
God revealed Himself to us through nature, prophets, Jesus, Apostles, the Word.

#2.  Proper Balance.  Model = Jesus who 1) addressed sin and embraced the sinner
                                                            2) exercised truth w/o compromise while showing grace and mercy (ex.  woman at the well)

Summary verse:  Micah 6:8
act justly
love mercy
walk humbly
        with your God.  He's God, we're not!!!

Always remember, but for the grace of God, there go I.

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